Earlier this month I celebrated a milestone birthday: I turned 38. I realize that most of you probably think that I’m two years early in making this proclamation, but let me explain why the age 38 has such significance to me. I mentioned in a post I wrote last March about the 10 year anniversary of my first date with Stewart that ever since I came out as gay at age 22, I envisioned for my future not only a kid in my life, but even the exact age I wanted to be when the kid was born: age 38. Because I felt like a late bloomer at the time, I rationalized that the intervening years would give me enough time to mature and get my shit together, which included plenty of time to experience being a single guy, and then plenty of time after that to find Mr. Right and settle down in a serious relationship. I knew I would need that stability and security before I could ever tackle parenting.
Still, picking age 38 to have a kid instead of, say, age 35 or 40, still sounds pretty arbitrary. But actually -- and perhaps this was purely subconscious -- the age 38 has numerical significance for me. Thirty-eight years old is the mid-point age between when my dad had his first child (at age 30) and when my dad had his fifth and last child, me (at age 46). At age 22, I knew that I would not even be close to being ready to have a child by 30. My goal for 30 was to be in a serious relationship, hopefully, or at least to have had a meaningful relationship by that point. On the other hand, I knew that I didn’t want to wait to start having kids until I was 46. While I am very lucky that my dad always had lot of energy raising me and is still spritely for his age, I can’t count on those wonderful genetic qualities being passed along to me.
Over the years after I came out, my age-specific goals somehow never left my mind. First I met my goal of being in a serious relationship by age 30, having started dating Stewart a few years earlier. By the time I was 35, Stewart and I knew that we wanted to start a family together, and my target age of 38 was looking good. But I decided that it made no sense to wait to try to get the age perfect, for several reasons. First, although I had reached a comfortable place in my life, I realized that even so there was never going to be a day that I would simply wake up and say: “Now I am ready to have a kid!” I don’t think anyone ever feels completely ready for such a major life change. So I thought Stewart and I should just take the bull by the horns and go for it instead of letting my goal of age 38 turn into an excuse to put off such an intimidating undertaking. Second, as I have discussed before, having a child through surrogacy involves a lot of factors, and you can’t pinpoint how long it is going to take before you are successful. We were very lucky to find the surrogate of our dreams almost right off the bat, and that she was as motivated as we were to get the process going and to get pregnant. So while Max arrived during my 36th year on this planet, becoming parents could have easily taken until I was 38, even starting the process as early as we did (see my last post about how surrogacy can take years for some couples).
There have been many birthdays past where I have lamented to myself: “Oh my god, I am now such and such an age and look where I’m at in life. I haven’t achieved x, y or z yet,” perhaps in relation to my career or something else. But now at age 38 I look around and I can’t believe the wonderful place my life has taken me. I am a stay-at-home dad, married to an amazing husband, and we are raising an amazing 15 month old son. Also, we have such a great support system from our families and friends. Despite the proclamation I made at 22 years of age about my life goals, in my wildest dreams I did not dare to imagine that I would be sitting where I’m sitting now. I’m more than lucky.